Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Orin’s Opinion on Obama Birthday Email is Based on Factual Error


In a post below, Orin Kerr expresses his opinion that he does not find the Obama birthday email even “a bit creepy.” While certainly entitled to his own opinion, he is not entitled to his own facts.

Orin writes:

As far as I can tell, Jim received this e-mail because he signed up to be on the Obama campaign’s e-mail list (as was the case with this prior e-mail he blogged about). . . .

Given that this apparently was . . . only sent to people who voluntarily signed up to receive such things, I have trouble understanding why Jim sees it as “emulating the trappings” of a dictatorship.

In neither post did I state or imply that I had signed up to be on the Obama campaign’s email list. While working on a post for the Volokh Conspiracy, as part of my due diligence I had emailed the Obama campaign with specific questions about Obama’s position on what I was writing about. I never signed up to be on any Obama related email list. Nor did I present myself as a supporter in my email to the campaign.

If my experience can be generalized–and maybe it can’t–this Obama email list is comprised of people who contacted the campaign in any capacity, not just supporters. It is certainly not just for people who signed up to be on a list.

Orin is mistaken on the factual basis for his opinion.

Would having the facts right change his opinion? Frankly, I don’t know.


  1. Jim,

    The point is not *how* you received it, though I understand that was part of the point Orin was making. Perhaps if you were intellectually honest and left comments open, your ignorance could be corrected.

  2. Now, how do we get this ping back tracked on Jim's original piece?

  3. You know, for as smart as Eugene Volokh can be and usually is, he sure has a bunch of dumbasses posting with him at his conspiracy, especially Lindgren and Kopel.

    1. Nearly two years later, I've got to reply to this. Though Kopel is a bit monomaniacal, he seems fairly honorable. Barnett (perhaps in a positive response to Orin's posts and comments) has opened comments on many of his posts (particularly on the topic of NFIB v. Sebelius), and generally I find him to be sincere (and mostly wrong).

      The roll of dumbasses:
      Lindgren (tops the list, though just barely)
      Baker (he's mostly clueless, rather than malicious)

  4. Orin calls it Birthdaycardgate. Says it all.

  5. Yeah, Ugh, it's a real mystery how one *becomes* a Conspirator.

  6. Anderson, you're going to think I'm some sort of virtual stalker but I read about this on Crooked Timber and had already read it and laughed about it before I realized it was you.

    Anyhow, Ugh: Any list of "folks of questionable intelligence who post on Volkh's site" would have to include Randy Barnett. To paraphrase the sports fan:

    He's number one! He's number one!

  7. Yeah, I think I'm going to have to modify the blog to include future Barnett posts as well.